What Does Metal Shavings in Oil Mean and What Should You Do About it?

Changing your car’s oil is one of the most vital phases of continuous car care. When the oil is not well maintained, it might lead to severe side effects. These effects include changes in how the vehicle performs as well as severe permanent damage to the engine.

Each vehicle requires oil and oil filter changes so as to perform optimally, although many drivers concentrate much on rotating and replacing worn-out tires. Oil and filter changes is an important maintenance practice that is supposed to be regularly performed.

How Metal Shavings Get to the Engine Oil

Metal shavings in the engine are usually caused as a result of friction of the components of the engine. These components rub each other, thus creating these remains. The frictions occur because of insufficient oil and lubrication.

These shavings can accumulate if you fail to maintain or change the vehicle’s oil regularly. They usually increase the risk of vehicle engine wear and tear which then cuts its lifespan. The metal shavings in the oil prevent the smooth flow of the oil to the engine parts, and this causes the parts of the engine to break down.

Signs of Metal Shavings in Engine Oil

Reduced Power

There will be reduced engine power if metal shavings have build up in your oil. They can clog up the engine and prevent it from operating. The bad experience is when the engine breaks down all of a sudden and in the center of the road. For this reason, understand the value of properly maintaining the engine’s oil.

Engine Knocking

There is a connection between knocking sounds and metal particles in engine oil. When your oil has metal shavings, it results in a noisy knocking sound in the engine. The loud knock is heard when the engine’s parts knock against each other since they are not lubricated. The knocking sounds usually increase and especially if you accelerate the engine.

Strange Ticking Noises

Engine noises occur when the engine of your vehicle is not having enough lubrication. This means that the oil is not freely moving through the important components of the engine. Since metal shavings prevent a smooth running of oil in your engine, the engine fails to get lubrication in various parts, which affects its overall functioning.

A Drop in Oil Pressure

The pressure of the oil goes down when the major bearings fail to operate effectively. Therefore, when you detect this problem, check the main bearings straight away before a severe accident takes place.

Rough When Idling

Unneeded friction in the engine’s parts due to insufficient lubrication makes the vehicle to shake or vibrate when idle. During these cases, you should check the engine oil. It might be less than the required, or the oil might be dirty and containing metal shavings.

What To Do If Your Oil has Metal Shavings

Auto Mechanic Checking Oil

It is important to first clarify what is behind the contamination of your engine oil. Are they copper, brass, metallic, or bronze metal shavings? What can you consider the usual wear? All these questions can help you know where to start in the diagnostic procedure. Confirming the type and color of the metal flakes in oil is the finest way of working out what has stopped working in your engine.

With iron shavings, which can be simply detected using a magnet, you then can guess they ought to be from the rotating parts like the crankshaft, valve train, or camshaft parts. Turbocharger breakdowns might as well contaminate your oil with metal shavings.

These breakdowns will affect the performance of your engine. A worn-out turbo can make noise and make your engine to burn oil, while Valvetrain breakdowns will make the engine to operate rough, setting a trouble code. With copper, bronze, or brass shavings, the probable breakdown is a worn bushing or bearing.

Wrist pin bearings, camshaft bearings, turbo thrust bearings, or crankshaft can leave behind dust particles or copper-colored shavings. Sounds from your engine will be clear if these gears get worn out to the point of leaving metal shavings in the oil.

What To Do To Avoid These Problems In Your Vehicle

Choosing Compatible Oil

Buying the right oil significantly prevents metal shavings. By doing so, you’re able to lengthen the life span of the car because it helps in the prevention and formation of metal shavings in the engine’s oil. Therefore, make sure that you have the right grade for your engine oil. Always change with the right oil. Wrong oil or grade that is not compatible with the engine may damage it more than how the metal shavings may have done.

Monitor and Maintain Motor Oil Properly

Always visually check the level of your oil frequently by using the dipstick that’s under the hood and see how it appears.

CVT Transmission Oil Level Indicator Dipstick Gauge
CVT Transmission Oil Level Indicator Dipstick Gauge

Good oil has to be transparent and also brown to amber in color. The oil available must be at least half of the dipstick. This can be done twice to make sure that the oil is clean and free from metal shavings. When the oil appears to be darker, grimy with visible metal shavings, and doesn’t reach haft the dipstick, this means you have to change it as soon as possible.

Change Your Oil before Metal Shavings Build Up in the Oil Pan

It is good to change your engine’s oil frequently. This is the best way to get rid of any metal shaving in an oil pan. You don’t have to wait for metal shaving to accumulate so that you can change your engine oil. It is good to remember not to fill your engine oil to the brim as this may damage the engine.

Follow Your Vehicle’s Servicing Plan

Even though your vehicle may not be damaged, servicing your vehicle regularly is recommended. You should treat your vehicle just like the way a person requires general checkups regularly. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

You don’t have to wait for the damage to occur so that you can repair it. That might be too late. Anytime you see a small problem, it’s good to deal with it as soon as possible. Experts advocate changing your engine depending on how frequently you use the vehicle. For normal usage, you may follow instructions that are in the manual.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a metal shaving in oil mean?

Water shaving means that oil is not freely moving in the important parts of your engine.

What causes metal shavings?

Particle in dirty oil causes friction rather than lubricating the engine of your vehicle properly. The produces metal shavings.

How much metal shaving in oil is too much?

If the filter has about an eighth of a teaspoon of flakes metal particles or whiskers, then metal shaving in oil is too much. Change the oil.


Oil replacements and oil filters are affected by metal particles in the oil. They are fine metal shavings in oil that find their way in your oil and finally the engine. When they enter your vehicle’s engine, the engine stops. Therefore, the vehicle should be checked to observe the kind of damage caused.

Keep in mind that the metal shavings in engine oil are not what causes a problem. Their presence in your car oil signifies that something else is severely wrong. As a result, certain parts of the engine might need to be replaced, while it might require the whole engine to be rebuilt. However, this depends on how severe the damage is plus the type of vehicle.